Sadness fills diocese in wake of bishop's passing - abc27 WHTM

Sadness fills diocese in wake of bishop's passing

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Somber and sadness hung heavy Thursday around the Diocese of Harrisburg, where many were shocked to hear about the loss of Bishop Joseph McFadden.

A flame flickered in the front lobby of the Cardinal Keeler Center in Lower Paxton Township. The glow of the burning candle illuminated a portrait of Bishop Joseph McFadden, draped with black bunting.

Diocese spokesman Joe Aponick said he learned of McFadden's death in a phone call at around 8 a.m., and then began the difficult task of Informing others. Aponick followed his obligatory duties and held a news conference to discuss the bishop's passing.

When asked about not only losing a boss but a friend, he broke down in tears.

"It's very hard," he said. "We are in mourning. My reaction was just ... I'm still stunned."

Hearts were heavy and eyes were red, and it was clear Aponick shared the emotions felt by everyone at the Diocese.

Workers struggled with the sadness and prepared the grounds to honor McFadden. Flags outside the center were dropped to half-staff, while black memorial bunting was draped outside the bishop's residence and above the center's main entrance.

It was a much different mood and sight at the Diocese than two months prior on March 13, when yellow and white bunting was hung in celebration of the newly named Pope Francis. McFadden seemed healthy and was happy to share the news with everyone, especially children.

"He loved the Diocese," said Aponick, "and the people of the diocese very much loved him."

McFadden was appointed June 22, 2010 by then Pope Benedict XVI. Despite his relatively short three-year ministry, he was said to leave a legacy of love and being humble.

"It is not uncommon for him to say 'I want to be a holy bishop, but I need holy people. So, if you'll pray for me, I'll pray for you,' " Aponick said.

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